A Collection of Short Stories to Savor Between Your Sweetest Holiday Moments!
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Source: I received this book as an ARC from the author, in exchange for an honest review.
As the holidays approach, and many readers find themselves short on time, yet long on desire to cherish the sweetness of the holiday season, Rose Fairbanks has written a collection of holiday short stories based on “Pride and Prejudice,” that will keep JAFF readers engaged in a world of romance, misunderstandings and holiday joy.
This collection contains seven different stories and includes many of our favorite characters from “Pride and Prejudice.” The book concludes with an excerpt from Penelope Swan’s “Mr. Darcy’s Christmas Wish.”
I found myself enjoying each story, and delighted by the romantic and jolly holiday tone shared between these pages. My only complaint is that some of the stories felt either too short or ended too abruptly for my liking, since I wanted to read more about these characters in their given situations. For the reader who wants to sneak some JAFF reading into her/his holiday season, I recommend this collection of short stories.
I’ve decided to review each story below, to provide our readers with a glimpse into each story.
A Sleigh Ride for Two – In this winter tale, Mr. Bingley returns to Longbourn, with his friend, and a newly purchased sleigh, in the hopes of capturing Jane Bennet’s heart. Poor Elizabeth Bennet must bear “the dreadful Mr. Darcy,” in an effort to help chaperone Charles and Jane. Are both sisters truly indifferent to the newly returned guests from Netherfield Park? I enjoyed the lovely sleigh ride enjoyed by Darcy and Elizabeth and how they were able to resolve their misunderstandings. This story made me wish to have my very own sleigh ride this season!
Thawed Hearts– This short story is based on Christina Rossetti’s poem, In the Bleak Midwinter. Ms. Rossetti has been a longtime favorite poet of mine, so reading this short story was such a treat. Though brief in words, this story, which offered a sweet exchange between Darcy and Georgiana, offered glimpses of hope and romance for our dear couple.
Fitzy the Snowman– This story was such a delight because for me it delved into the POV of one of Mr. & Mrs. Gardiner’s children, the precocious Kathleen Gardiner. The story unfolds at Longbourn, where the Gardiners have extended their holiday stay, in anticipation of Charles and Jane’s upcoming nuptials. We are treated here to the observations of a young child, who witnesses the behaviors of a besotted Mr. Darcy and an “indifferent” Elizabeth, who find themselves making new discoveries as they build a snowman together with the Gardiner children. I loved reading Kathleen’s astute musings, as she is observing this curious new side of Mr. Darcy during their snowy adventures.
The Force of Love– This story opens up with Darcy spending time with his extended family, as they prepare to celebrate the christening of his new cousin, the newest heir to the earldom. After the evening’s conversation, Darcy turns his thoughts inward, as he reflects on his uncle’s words. Do his pride and indifference towards others truly reflect the type of person he wants to be seen as by other people? Were these actions leading him down a path of happiness and contentment, or just further away from the one thing he desired more than anything else? Miss Elizabeth Bennet…
At the same time, Elizabeth Bennet is conversing with her father, as she is struggling to understand the intentions and behaviors of other people. As Elizabeth spends time reflecting on their conversation, she tries to untangle her thoughts and concerns about the new acquaintances in her own life. Will Darcy and Elizabeth’s reflections bring them closer together, or will their doubts and insecurities drive them apart?
This was a story that I would have loved to read more about, as I loved the scene at the opera house, because it made me long to enjoy more interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth. Therefore, the end felt rushed and left me wanting more…
Home with You– As we meet the Bennet sisters in the opening scene, the ladies are discussing their holiday plans for visiting with officers and friends. However, poor Jane Bennet is pining for the loss of Charles Bingley’s company. Feeling dejected and lonely, she prepares herself for a quiet Christmas holiday, until fate intervenes with a different set of plans. I loved the promise of this story, but I also felt it ended too abruptly. I would have enjoyed watching this story unfold with more dialogue and interactions between all of the characters, especially between Charles and Jane, as I felt this really could’ve been enjoyed more as a longer and more intimate story between this sweet couple.
Fortune Favors the Bold– This story begins with two of our beloved characters unknowingly sending separate letters to Longbourn. After the recipients receive their correspondence, a chain of events are set into motion, changing the course of our dear couple’s future. This was a brief glimpse into what a matchmaking (and bolder) Georgiana could accomplish, when she’s confident enough to assert herself for her brother’s happiness.
Winter Walks – This story brought such a sweet smile to my face! Here, we join Darcy and Elizabeth, who are betrothed and anxious to marry, as they head off together for a lovely brisk walk. This snippet was filled with a bit of romance, a sprinkle of shared intimacies and warm promises for Darcy and Elizabeth’s own future. This tender story also provided a peek into what married life may hold for our dear couple.
Please enjoy this book blurb from Rose:
Indulge in sweet romance that brings holiday cheer.
Re-imagine Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice. The well-known story changes seven times when snowfalls and the Christmas messages of goodwill and love to all warms and transforms hearts. Discover the magic and wonder of true love, first kisses, and forgiveness with Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Jane, and Mr. Bingley in Once Upon a December.
Rose Fairbanks fell in love with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy thirteen years ago. Previously rereading her favorite Austen novels several times a year, she discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction due to pregnancy-induced insomnia. Several months later she began writing.
She proudly admits to her Darcy obsession, addictions to reading, chocolate and sweet tea, is always in the mood for a good debate and dearly loves to laugh.
Once Upon a December can be purchased at the following links:
This collection is also available on iBooks
To help kick off the holiday spirit, Just Jane 1813 readers can enjoy this Pinterest Board at the link below, packed with holiday inspirations that everyone can enjoy:
Rose Fairbanks would like to offer our Just Jane 1813 readers an opportunity to win an ebook of these sweet holiday tales. To kick off this event, please share in the comments box the title of another holiday-themed JAFF book that you have enjoyed in the past. Please have all comments submitted by December 15th. Our giveaway winner will be announced on this blog on December 16, 2015.
I’d like to thank Rose Fairbanks for writing these charming short stories, as these are perfect to savor in-between the hustle and bustle of our upcoming holidays. I’d also like to thank her for offering our readers this generous giveaway opportunity!